Ants In A Mug - Ramblings
Ants In A Mug - Ramblings8 mins 19K 8 mins 19K
We usually overlook ants. Perhaps not on purpose but it just so happens unless they are bothering you or you specifically go look for them. They are always so busy, finding food or the way back home. There are black ants, red ants, small ants, large ants, the ants that bite, the ones who follow each other so on and so forth. I wonder do they leave their footprints. Assuming that they did leave coloured footprints around then our walls, floors, ceilings and gardens would always be freshly painted though in weird patterns and mixed colours. How much does an ant need to survive for an year? Seriously, if I was size of an ant, I would find a tiny place, fill a corner with some grains and voila I am done for an year. Fortunately or unfortunately not all species are as self centred as human beings are. Ants look after and store food for the entire community. I again wonder, do they commit crimes, do they kill each other or steal from each other? Maybe someone did research and reached some conclusion on this point but I am not aware of that.
Why did I suddenly start thinking about ants today? Oh yes, I saw some on my nightstand, busy slurping the sweet milk after some droplets found their way down the glass mug. I am a cruel person by nature and do not leave any opportunity of taking pleasure out of someone else’s misery irrespective it is caused by me or not. So I did exactly what you are thinking I did, I turned the glass and imprisoned some ants in it. At first they were so happy given the extra drops of milk they could slurp, but quickly they realised that the unexpected treat had come with a cost. Now a rational mind would have drank the milk anyway and I would suppose that ants were more logical than human beings given they are presumed to be devoid of any elaborate emotions; however I was proven wrong. The ants took no interest in the milk and started trying to find a way out of the glass. Some climbed the surface of the glass and some took a round at the bottom to find slightest opening from which they could crawl through. A couple of them were standing in the middle and overseeing all this, management, I presumed. I decided to add a little more motivation to their efforts and lifted the mug slightly to let some of the ants out. Now I had added a more cruel element to this sadistic venture of mine; hope. Ants were suddenly frantic trying to establish what happened and why it happened so suddenly. I was enjoying my power over them.
What happens when human beings are in a hostage situation? Who are they worried about most; themselves, people with them, loved ones at home or society at large for what it has come to? My mind wandered off to similarities in the ants trying to find a way out of the mug and my own life. It’s quite natural you know. Even in the positions of most power, people do not forget their own prisons. They always try to find a way out of it. Kings and dictators try to find a way out of the fear of a coup, nations of war, judges of a wrong judgement, armies of mutiny, writers of block, sportsmen of injury, corporations of obscurity and so on. So why do we all want to break this prison if we enjoy the power (sweet milk for ants) inside it. I would say two things: most living things prefer freedom over a luxurious prison and that the grass is greener on the other side. So I decided to make the grass greener outside the mug and kept sugar cubes around. The smell of sugar must be maddening the ants inside who could do little other than walking in circles hoping something would have changed by the time they complete the round.
Human beings suffer from a fatal disease and a panacea for everything bad in life - eternal hope. If something changes for bad they always hope that it will change back and if something changes for good, they hope that now nothing bad would happen. Hope becomes a curse when they want to hold on tight to something which is fleeting. Oh that pain of losing something or someone so dear! We think that we stay in a home or a city or a country or this planet earth or this universe or some other residence address; what we do not realise is that we only stay in time. What I was a few minutes back is not the same person I am now? So where did that person stay? He is not there anymore and yet he is. People wonder if there are parallel earths where different versions of us and our fellow beings exists albeit with some difference. Why do they wonder? Don’t we have parallel versions of earths right here? Is your version of earth same as mine? It’s almost as if we stay at different places altogether and yet at the same place.
If I was ever caught in such a mug, I would rest once in a while and maybe give up after sometime. By far, ants have not given up. Ants inside the mug have not given up but surprisingly ants outside the mug have also not left along with the sugar cubes. Are they curious or concerned? I have always wondered people stop at accident sites out of concern and aim of helping or just to find out what happened. Sometimes people stop so that they see someone else helping so that they don’t have to carry the guilt of not being of any use to the society. At least they can tell themselves that they had intention to help but before they could do something, someone else did. Oh the agony of having a good intention but not being able to materialise it! Why does this world has so many good people that one has to fight for even doing a good deed? At least it would be a good ‘you know what happened today’ or ‘it could have been me lying on the road covered in blood if I had left a moment earlier from home today’ story to tell people back home or at office.
I have heard that somewhere in the world, sharks and alligators are out in open waters and human beings are lowered in a glass tube to watch them in their natural habitat. We are weird species. Sometimes we want to demonstrate our power by putting beasts in a glass chamber and sometimes we want to be humbled by putting ourselves in one. The view of earth of ants outside the mug is entirely different from those who are inside the mug. Can they make some strategy and group together to lift the mug at one particular place and get out one by one? I don’t think so. Can they indicate in sign languages to their friends outside the mug to fetch help? I am sure if entire army of ants come to help, they can easily topple the mug or they can at least ransom it out of me by biting me till the time I don’t let their friends out. Isn’t it strange that the ant which works solely for the community ends up getting no help in return. If I let these ants out now, will they realise this deceit and would no longer work for the greater good? Or is there a deceit at all? It would have been a deceit if some leader had promised them a reciprocity. I don’t think there are misleading leaders in their hierarchy. I feel there is no danger of a coup from these ants even if they succeed in getting out of here. If they die here, would there be someone to cry over their loss or miss them in future? Would ants keep silence for two minutes every year in their memory? Do ants have any memory? Would I rather not have any memory? Who coined the word memory? If there was no word for memory would there still be memory? Memory, Memory, Memory, Memory, Memory….
I must have dozed off because when I got up, there were no ants inside or outside the mug. Neither there were any sugar cubes. I wonder if ants actually combined efforts when I was asleep and there was no danger of their ability to collaborate, communicate, engineer levers and pulleys etc being discovered. Was I dreaming last night? Am I awake yet? Were there any ants in the mug or outside? Are there any ants in the world or they are figments of my imagination? Can I imagine only ants or other stuff also? Do I have any imagination? Would I rather have no imagination? Is ‘imagination’ a combination of ‘image’ and ‘nation’?
When I looked around carefully I found a crevice between the mug and the tablecloth; remnants of sugar cubes and a long line of ants on one of the walls. This brought an end to a saga and a great morning mystery.
Now excuse me so that I find my own crevice from the mug I am in. Hope there are some sugar cubes outside…